Shane Black Talks DOC SAVAGE; Confirms 1930s Setting and Describes It as “What if Jimmy Stewart Were a Stone-Cold Killer?” [UPDATED]

     June 28, 2013


Coming off the massive success of Iron Man 3, it’s safe to say that co-writer/director Shane Black probably had his pick of the litter when it came to choosing his follow-up project.  Despite this fact, the filmmaker admirably chose to return to a bit of a passion project for his next film, an adaptation of the 1930s and 40s pulp fiction hero Doc Savage.  The character’s heroic personality and penchant for quests makes for a promising start to an entertaining feature film, but in the hands of a genius screenwriter like Black, this Doc Savage movie has the makings of something really, really special.

We caught up with Black at the Saturn awards, and he was gracious enough to talk a bit about Doc Savage.  Black confirmed that the film will retain the 1930s setting, and wonderfully described the title character as “what if Jimmy Stewart were a stone-cold killer?”  Hit the jump to read on. [Update: Black has reached out to us and offered a clarification with regards to Savage being described as a “stone-cold killer.”  Read his comments after the jump.]

doc-savage-bookUpdate: Black contacted us earlier today to offer a bit of a clarification regarding his comments about Doc Savage:

“The line I so blithely tossed off, ‘what if Jimmy Stewart were a stone cold killer,’ is a bit misleading.  Doc Savage had the abilities of a fighting machine but truly the soul of a pacifist.  He always tempered his violent skills with kindness and a social conscience, preferring never to take human life.  So, um,  perhaps my quote should have more accurately read, ‘potential’  killer.”

Black also offered some clarification in the comments section below, so If it somehow wasn’t clear that Doc Savage was in the right hands before, I believe these comments solidify Black as the man for the job.  Really can’t wait to see this thing.  Our original story follows below.

While it didn’t really seem likely that the Doc Savage character would be transported to modern day, Black confirmed that his film will indeed take place in the 1930s and he also talked a bit about the tone and sensibility of the pic:

“We’re shooting it as though it’s in the 30s, including all the Capra-esque elements of 1930s films like You Can’t Take It With You.  The idea of ‘What if Jimmy Stewart were a stone-cold killer?’ basically.  It’s that kind of combination which we enjoy.”

The filmmaker went on to talk about his deep affection for the Doc Savage source material, saying that he hopes his film will make an entirely new audience fall in love with the character:

“Doc Savage is a personal film to me.  It’s a 1930s pulp character so it hasn’t been around for 75 years or so, but people if they’re introduced to it they’ll get to know, hopefully, what I came to love as a kid.  I’ve read those series for 43 years and always wanted to figure out how to crack it.”

Black is making Doc Savage at Sony as his next film, and while no firm timetable has been given with regards to when filming might begin, we can expect this one to move forward sooner rather than later.  Look for our full interview with Black on Collider this weekend.

A big thank you to Hunter Daniels, Tommy Cook, and Jeff Morreale for covering the Saturn Awards.


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